Crazy Day in Mariner-land
By Mike Salk
Pretty crazy day in Mariner-land as we first wondered why Milton Bradley left Tuesday night’s game, then found out that he left the park after an incident with Don Wakamatsu, then wondered if he would show up at his charity appearance, then heard he spoke movingly at the appearance, then waited while the M’s closed the clubhouse for a private meeting, then heard Jack Zduriencik and Don Wakamatsu explain that Bradley came to them for a meeting today and asked for help dealing with â€œpersonal issues.â€
As I said, a pretty crazy day.
And that was before they found out Mark Lowe was heading to the disabled list with a sore back and even before they took the field for Cliff Lee’s second start and lost Jack Wilson mid-game to a strained right hamstring.
This whole Bradley saga is incredibly confusing. The team is still trying to keep the actual incident that precipitated everything under wraps. In addition to the story I posted this morning, there are other reports (like this one from Geoff Baker saying Bradley left after being benched) that offer a slightly different take on what happened in those tense moments after Bradley struck out in the sixth. In fact, Zduriencik said:
“Milton wanted to enter the game again, Milton wanted to go back on the field, but Don thought it was in the best interest to not let that happen. Anything that happened after that, if it happens in the dugout or it happens in the locker room, itâ€™s strictly between us. Weâ€™re handling all of that internally I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s public knowledge.â€
Regardless, all the accounts seem to agree that at some point, Bradley left the park long before the game was over. In my book (as well as in the book’s of some professional athletes like Brock), that just can’t happen.
But Zduriencik’s explanation of what happened in today’s post-script adds another dimension to the story. According to the team, Bradley asked for a meeting with his GM and manager, then told them that he is â€œgoing through some things in his life right now that are very personal and emotional.â€
He then asked for help, which presumably includes some time off and (it would be my assumption) some counseling.
I’m not sure how to take this news. I think as employees, we all would hope that our employers would react in such a way if we needed help ourselves. Taking a few days away from a stressful job is sometimes exactly what someone needs to work stuff out. But assuming we take the organization at its word and believe that Bradley came to them looking for help, how do we know if we can believe he is serious?
Again, I don’t offer an answer, simply the questions. Is this the â€œmomentâ€ where Bradley suddenly recognizes he has a problem and gets the help/support he needs? Is this a ploy from a master manipulator? These are the tough decisions the organization needs to make and based on what we heard today, they seem to be taking him at his word.
I am also reminded of Shannon Drayer’s comments to us on the show today when she said she would deal with this situation by putting the onus onto the player. Could that be what’s happening here? That the team agreed to help him but maybe put conditions onto it?
Something tells me we won’t know the answers for a while. And, who knows? Maybe by then we’ll have a whole new set of questions.